The American Society of Human Genetics
(ASHG), founded in 1948, is the primary professional membership organization for specialists in human genetics
Human genetics describes the study of inheritance as it occurs in human beings. Human genetics encompasses a variety of overlapping fields including: classical genetics, cytogenetics, molecular genetics, biochemical genetics, genomics, population genetics, developmental genetics, clinical genetics,...
worldwide. As of 2009, the organization had approximately 8,000 members. The Society’s members include researchers, academicians, clinicians, laboratory practice professionals, genetic counselors, nurses, and others who have a special interest in the field of human genetics.
ASHG serves research scientists, health professionals, and the general public by providing forums to:
- Share research results at the Society's Annual Meeting and in The American Journal of Human Genetics (AJHG);
- Advance genetic research by advocating for research support;
- Enhance genetics education by preparing future professionals and informing the public; and
- Promote genetic services and support responsible social and scientific policies.
The ASHG Annual Meeting is the oldest and largest international human genetics conference worldwide. The Society's Annual Meeting is held each fall in a major U.S. or Canadian city and attracts about 6,000-7,000 attendees, plus exhibitors. The ASHG Annual Meeting features invited presentations from the world’s leading geneticists, along with a variety of symposia, workshops, and other abstract-driven sessions focusing on the most important and recent developments in basic, translational, and clinical human genetics research and technology. The ASHG Meeting also offers exhibitors the opportunity to interact with attendees and promote their services, products, and new technology, including state-of-the-art medical and laboratory equipment, and computer software designed to enhance genetics research and data analysis.
ASHG's principal publication is the American Journal of Human Genetics
The American Journal of Human Genetics is a medical journal in the field of human genetics. Since its inception in 1948 by the American Society of Human Genetics, the journal has provided a record of research and review relating to heredity in humans and to the application of genetic principles in...
(AJHG). The Society's highest honor, awarded annually since 1961, is the William Allan Award
The William Allan Award, given by the American Society of Human Genetics, was established in 1961 in memory of William Allan , one of the first American physicians to conduct extensive research in human genetics...
, established in memory of the physician William Allen
William Allan was an American physician and geneticist who made pioneering studies in human genetics and hereditary diseases...
to recognize substantial and far-reaching scientific contributions to human genetics, performed over a sustained period of scientific inquiry and productivity. The Curt Stern Award
The Curt Stern Award, also known as the Stern Award, honors the memory of Curt Stern as an outstanding and pioneering human geneticist...
, established in 2001, recognizes scientific achievements over the previous ten years.
On January 2, 2008, the American Society of Human Genetics released a statement on direct-to-consumer sales of genetic tests, calling for improved standards and for oversight by the Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission is an independent agency of the United States government, established in 1914 by the Federal Trade Commission Act...
to insure the accuracy and validity of genetic testing and sales claims.
As the field of human genetics has expanded, ASHG has founded additional organizations within its membership body, including the following:
- National Society of Genetic Counselors
The National Society of Genetic Counselors , founded and incorporated in 1979, is the largest association of genetic counselors in the world...
, founded in 1979, as an advocacy group for the nascent field of genetic counseling.
- American Board of Medical Genetics, founded in 1981, to certify practitioners in human genetics.
- American Board of Genetic Counseling, founded in 1991, to certify genetic counselors.
- American College of Medical Genetics
The American College of Medical Genetics is an organization composed of biochemical, clinical, cytogenetic, medical and molecular geneticists, genetic counselors and other health care professionals committed to the practice of medical genetics....
, founded in 1991, as a specialty board for medical geneticists at the doctoral level. It achieved full membership in the Council of Medical Specialty Societies in 1993.